SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Eric Quintane who will present a talk on Monday, December 5th, 2016 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. All are welcome to attend. To schedule a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Quintane please schedule a time HERE. Please contact SONIC Lab Manager Katya Bitkin with any questions or comments.

 

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How do Brokers Broker?

Tertius Gaudens, Tertius Iungens, and the Temporality of Structural Holes

Abstract

Organizational network research has demonstrated that multiple benefits accrue to people occupying brokerage positions. However, the extant literature offers scant evidence of the process postulated to drive such benefits –information brokerage– and therefore leaves unaddressed the question of brokers broker. We address this gap by examining the information-brokerage interactions in which actors engage. We argue that the information-brokerage strategies of brokers differ in three critical ways from those of actors embedded in denser network positions. First, brokers more often broker information via short-term interactions with colleagues outside their network of long-term relationships, a process we label “unembedded brokerage.” Second, when they engage in unembedded brokerage, brokers are more likely than are actors in dense network positions to intermediate the flow of information between the brokered parties, consistent with a tertius gaudens strategy. Conversely, and third, when they broker information via their network of long-term ties (embedded brokerage), brokers are more likely than are densely connected actors to facilitate a direct information exchange between the brokered parties, consistent with a tertius iungens strategy. Using a relational event model, we find support for our arguments in an empirical analysis of email communications among employees in a medium-sized, knowledge-intensive organization, as well as in a replication study. The theory and evidence we present advance a novel, temporal perspective on how brokers broker, which reconciles structural and process views of network brokerage. Our findings substantiate the notion of brokers as a dynamic force driving change in organizational networks, and they help to integrate within a unitary explanatory framework tertius iungens and tertius gaudens views of brokerage.

Biography

Eric Quintane is an associate professor of management at the School of Management, The University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne (Australia). His research interests include dynamics of organizational networks, temporality of social processes, creativity and innovation.

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